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Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Moeen Ali can help propel outsiders Worcestershire to T20 Blast glory

Sussex could make final at Somerset's expense

Moeen Ali's availability is a huge boost to Worcestershire's chances
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Lancashire v Worcestershire
Sky Sports Cricket, 11am Saturday
Sussex v Somerset
Sky Sports Cricket, 2.30pm Saturday

Surrey's capture of the County Championship crown with two fixtures to spare means that by 10pm on Saturday evening, we will know where county cricket's domestic titles will be housed over the winter.

Neither Surrey nor One-Day Cup victors Hampshire made it to T20 Finals Day at Edgbaston, leaving just four counties in with a chance of claiming some silverware.

The sides competing in Birmingham couldn't be more evenly matched with three of them - Lancashire, Somerset & Sussex - vying for favouritism.

Worcestershire go off as slight outsiders on their debut at Finals Day but their inexperience shouldn't be a hindrance.

The Rapids have made waves in white-ball cricket over the past two seasons, topping their One-Day Cup group both times.

They have taken that form into the T20 arena this term and Saturday could be the day they make good on that promise with a first one-day trophy since 2007.

Lancashire v Worcestershire
Worcestershire's run to Finals Day began with a five-wicket home win over Lancashire at New Road and they look tasty outsiders to repeat that victory in the first semi-final.

Although this will be both sides' first taste of white-ball cricket in more than three weeks, their performances in the Championship since winning their respective quarter-finals could be instructive.

Both sides are embroiled in the relegation battle in Division One but Worcestershire have shown greater survival instincts, thrashing Yorkshire before pushing new champions Surrey close this week.

Lancashire, meanwhile, were involved in a bizarre tie with Somerset before a demoralising defeat in the Roses match.

Lancs are boosted by the availability of big-hitting England star Jos Buttler, but Worcestershire have their own international, Moeen Ali, back in their ranks which is arguably more important.

Ali adds class to a dynamic top order alongside Aussie Callum Ferguson, who has been a revelation in one-day cricket this term and also adds variety to the Rapids' bowling attack.

With Ali in the ranks, Worcestershire look a more rounded side than 2015 champions Lancashire.

Somerset v Sussex
Racing Post Sport followers who took Liam Flin's ante-post advice by backing Sussex at 8-1 are in good shape.

The Sharks have fielded arguably the most varied attack in the competition this season but they head to Edgbaston without their ace leg-spinner Rashid Khan - the world's top-ranked T20 bowler.

Many punters may see that as a major negative but the Sharks retain plenty of bite with spinners Danny Briggs and Will Beer stepping into the breach left by the Afghan.

While their bowling is their strongest suit, Sussex have plenty of firepower in their batting unit, led by captain and former Blast winner Luke Wright.

If they perform to their best at Edgbaston, they can make the final at Somerset's expense.

Recommendations
Worcestershire to win T20 Blast
2pts 10-3 general
Worcestershire to beat Lancashire
2pts 6-5 Coral, Ladbrokes
Sussex to beat Somerset
1pt 10-11 general


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The Rapids have made waves in white-ball cricket over the past two seasons
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